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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wikis

I wish I had discovered Wikis last year, it would have made group assignments so much easier. In my most recent group assignment we used a wiki to share information and develop drafts of our work. This tool made collaboration simple for a group of adult learners with various responsibilities and commitments outside of uni.
Wikis are a web page that can be viewed and modified by anybody providing users with both author and editor privileges. They are an easy and effective web-based tool designed to enable collaborative activities. There use as a vehicle for education is limited only by ones imagination. WikEd (2008) have some great ideas for using wikis in the classroom including planning for projects, creating online textbooks, student portfolios and developing collaborative understandings. Teachers can also use these tools to organise their resources, collaborate with others in the planning process, and they are a great tool for assessing learning as the versioning capability of a wiki demonstrates the evolution of thought processes as students build understanding of concepts and relevant ways to demonstrate their understanding.
Using wikis in the classroom establishes clear links to the Learning Engagement Theory (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999). Wikis certainly occur in a group context, and by design they will be project based. The nature of a wiki, being available to a world wide audience, makes this a tool that contributes to learning in a meaningful and authentic way.

Kearsley, G. & Schneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning.[electronic resource]. Retrieved July 31, 2009from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

WikEd website: URL http://wik.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/Wiki_in_a_K-12_classroom

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